5 tips to help motivate your kids with their homework
5 tips to motivate your kids with their homework
We have learnt the hard way through lockdown and homeschooling that teaching our kids at home can be a frustrating experience! As a qualified teacher and mum, I have 5 tips to share with you to help best manage your kids homework routine at home.
1. Maintain a homework routine at home
Setting up a routine for completing homework will minimise everyone’s frustration and will keep your child organized. As tempting as it is to knock off at the end of the school day, many children still have a long list of tasks they need to complete that night.
Children should have a clear picture of what their homework routine looks like and what activities they are going to finish – just like they would in the classroom.
If you haven't already, I would recommend writing up a "homework timetable" with your child that sets out the plan for what happens each day after school. This could include set “break” times, times scheduled for homework completion while also factoring in extra-curricular activities. For example, if Soccer training finishes at 5pm on a Thursday, their homework time slot may move to 5:30pm on this day instead of its usual 4pm time.
2. Provide your child with an appropriate space to complete their homework
In the classroom, your child is provided with a chair and table or desk. Ensure your homework routine also includes this - so they are seated in an ergonomic fashion and have all of their school equipment, technology and books in the same space.
If you have older children or teens who can work independently, a study desk or dedicated area may be a great way to keep distractions at a minimum and lets them know that when they are in this room/area it is time to do homework. Everything stays in one spot which makes it easier to keep track of books, supplies, and projects.
Younger children in the early primary school years may benefit from working in a communal area such as the kitchen table so that parents can assist them when needed. Just ensure other siblings are not disrupting their concentration and that media tools such as the TV and phones are switched off.
3. Provide your children with the right tools to help support their learning and concentration.
Did you ever chew on your pen, fidget with your pencil case or tap your foot in the classroom? Research has now shown there are actually healthy benefits of fidgeting when learning.
Fidgeting is our body’s way of releasing restless energy. Common types of fidgeting include foot tapping, hair twirling or nail biting. While many consider these activities counterproductive to learning, many experts say that if these fidgeting behaviors can be redirected to an approved fidgeting device, they can actually enhance learning and improve focus.
Fidget toys are self-regulation tools to help with focus, attention and active listening, and also play a role in relieving anxiety and stress. There are many different types of fidget toys available, such as squeezable stress balls, pop it toys and hand rollers. Regardless of the type of fidget toy used, the goal is the same – to help focus attention and learning. If fidgeting is helpful to your child, try to choose an option that is discrete, does not make a noise and can fit in their pocket.
4. Make your family's mental health the top priority
Don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t give your children enough of your time to help them complete their homework some days. Communicate with their teachers and other parents to learn about alternative techniques and arrangements of how to tackle homework tasks if you are feeling overwhelmed. It's important to be flexible with their homework routines and be realistic about what can be achieved.
This may include skipping the extension activities or focusing on only one or two subjects each night.
Some schools offer ‘homework club’ or extra tutoring during lunchtime or after school which could be worthwhile investigating. Teens in high school years may also benefit from working with a friend or “study buddy” so they can help each other work through difficult tasks.
5. Make sure there is time for some rest and relaxation in the evening
Creating time where the family can spend quality family time together, even just to enjoy a movie, walk, jump on the trampoline or board game, can boost everyone's mood and provides important bonding time and a sense of family connectedness.
Encourage your child to also have some relaxation ‘down’ time. Some examples of this include some yoga stretches on the floor, a mindful walk or some gentle breathing exercises. Helping them learn mindfulness techniques at a young age will help them better manage stress and will help them learn how to emotionally regulate.
This article was written by Sarah James, owner of The Sensory Specialist – a Registered NDIS Provider based in Melbourne. Sarah is a qualified psychology teacher and mother of two boys. Sarah has spent over a decade teaching in several of Melbourne’s best government schools. Through her experiences, Sarah has learnt lots of tips and tricks to help kids thrive with their learning. Check out The Sensory Specialist on Facebook and Instagram.